Beauty Secrets

Allergic reactions to cosmetics

Have you ever had allergic reactions to cosmetics?

The skin cannot tolerate everything! It reacts and warns us if our dearest cosmetics harm its surface. It turns red, it becomes itchy and sore. Is our skin more sensitive and irritable or this is the result of an allergy?

Over 60% of women and, surprisingly, 40% of men say that they have a very sensitive skin, which doesn’t tolerate many cosmetics and creams and sometimes even tap water. But what should we do if cosmetics, makeup, deodorants, perfumes and shampoos have become indispensable to our daily routine? Is it possible for us to avoid dangerous ingredients, allergens or the substances potentially harmful in cosmetics? Experts believe that you can stop your allergic reactions to cosmetics!

irritant contact dermatitis

Types of allergies and symptoms

We present you a guide to recognize and deal with some types of allergic reactions to cosmetics: how to recognise and avoid them in order to maintain your skin beautiful and healthy.

The environment is full of substances which can harm the human organism and that determines it to have reactions in order to defend itself. Reactions to allergies are actually defensive reactions: if an antigen is found in the body, the immune system tries to neutralize it.

Allergic reactions to cosmetics: The cells that create proinflammatory substances are stimulated to destroy it and in the same time to recruit other cells in the area where the antigen has been found. This usually triggers an inflammatory response.

All the enzymes and substances created by these cells are also responsible for the clinical evolution: swelling, redness, itching, vasodilatation and a change in the texture of the skin. Actually, it is considered that not the allergenic particles cause the direct injury to the skin, but our organism while trying to eliminate them.

Allergic reactions to cosmetic products result during daily use and may appear in several ways:

  1. – Through direct contact with the skin – for example the allergy to mascara;
  2. – By indirect contact with the skin – eye diseases caused by different types of blush.
  3. – Through infectious contact – a product which is initially applied on the body and it accidentally gets on the face or eye lid;
  4. Through airborne contact – small drops of perfume or deodorant;
  5. Through sun exposure- due to the photoallergen reaction.

Experts have identified two main types of allergic reactions to cosmetics: irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis.

The irritant contact dermatitis is more common than the allergic contact type and can affect everyone. It is triggered by the direct contact between a substance and the skin. Dermatitis is located in the superficial layers of the skin, it has defined edges and it is not diffuse.

The irritant dermatitis debutates as red, itchy areas that may develop in several days and can reach the stage of vesicles (containing fluid). Its evolution is influenced by the contact with the initial pathogenic agent ( it is even more severe if the use of the respective product continues). If the affected area is heavily scratched, significant damage may occur, leading to lesions.

The most likely areas where this type of dermatitis can occur are the eyelids, the cheeks and the areas with dry skin. The most common substances incriminated for the occurrence of irritant dermatitis are chemical: acetone, alcohol, latex, sodium laureate sulfate and alkali.

allergic reaction to cosmetics

Cosmetics allergy

Allergic contact dermatitis appears on specific areas of the body, characterized by atopy and on the allergies. Although it is less common than the irritant contact dermatitis, allergic dermatitis is considered the most usual immunotoxicity reaction of the body. The symptoms are similar to those of irritant dermatitis, but there is a very important component of its system: intense itching, extensive rash, swelling and redness.

Allergic reactions to cosmeticsEven if such reactions can appear anywhere on the body, they are usually located on the face, lips, eyelids, ears, neck, chest and armpit.

The substances that give these reactions are : nickel (present in jewelry), neomycin (antibiotic and ingredient in cosmetics, deodorants, antibacterial creams), formaldehyde (cosmetic ingredient), cobalt chloride (in hair dyes, antiperspirants), quaternium 15 (present in shampoos, SPF creams and nail polish).

If you have an allergy to any type of cosmetic product – makeup, shampoo, soap or perfume – the specialists suggest that you should stop using them at once. If you are not quite sure which is the “aggressor”, the best thing is to eliminate them all from your daily routine. Then, in time, you can use them, but just one at a time.

In this way you can determine which product is harmful and must be avoided. If the symptoms do not disappear even after you have given up to all “bad” cosmetics, then you should consult a specialist in dermatology.

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